Another Little Breath of Private Air

I’m a bit late mentioning this, as it’s already halfway through the current print run, but I wrote two new articles in the January/February edition of Private Air Magazine. You can read the openings of each below, then click to read more.

The Circle – A New Form of Airport Architecture
“For many decades, airports have been at the forefront of large-scale creative architecture. From the inviting contemporary curves of Incheon International in South Korea to the lush ring-shaped oasis of King Abdulaziz International in Saudi Arabia, revolutionary airport designs around the world have immeasurably improved the passenger experience, making flying more of a pleasure than an ordeal.

Yet for Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto, that ambition isn’t enough. He believes airports should aim not just to be passenger transport hubs, but multi-purpose centres for the whole world to share – and he is showing the way with a radical new development at Zurich Airport. It’s called The Circle…” // Click to read more

Albania: The Foreign Investment of the Decade?
“The sunlight creeps into the crack between the wooden stalls, and the Old Bazaar stirs into life. Shutters are slid open, shelves are straightened and scarves are suspended from the ceiling; the modest market nestled below the castle in Krujë is open for business. In recent years, this tiny Albanian arcade has gained fame as a foreign investor’s idyll – where old Russian ration books change hands for pennies and 1920s gramophones sell for the price of iTunes album – but it is becoming clear that it’s just part of a wider story. Albania at large is now being touted as the investment opportunity of the decade…” // Click to read more

You can subscribe to the excellent Private Air Magazine right here, or simply read the latest issue for free here.

The Savoy hotel guide for Forbes

Often called “London’s most famous hotel,” The Savoy holds a special place in the heart of this great European city. Opened in 1889 as the first truly high-end hotel in Britain, The Savoy has been at the forefront of decadence ever since, having introduced a series of mod cons ranging from electric lighting to hot running water, en suite bathrooms to air-conditioning. Today, the hotel retains its ability to keep pace with modern luxury (every room boasts MP3 players and flat-screen TVs) while retaining the old-fashioned prestige and opulence that has seen figures ranging from Winston Churchill to Frank Sinatra pass through its famous revolving doors. The Savoy has been one of the world’s finest hotels for more than 120 years, and it’s a position it will maintain for many more years to come.

So says the introduction to my brand new Q&A piece on London’s Savoy hotel for Forbes Travel Guide/Startle.com. You will also find everything you need to know about its rooms, restaurants, location and unusual design aesthetic.

You can read the entire thing here. And later, keep a beady eye out for my hotel guides to other London giants including the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park (and its lovely spa), The Goring and The Dorchester… coming soon.

Contributing to Vertu Select

I have been contributing short articles to the luxury digital publication Vertu Select for more than a year now, but there has been such a backlog that it has taken a very long time to see any of them published – and even longer to get my mitts on the prints! But now, they have kindly supplied me with the few of my articles that have made it to public consumption. The first, published in May, starts like this:

“The 20th century was a trying period for Ukrainian art. After a promisingly avant-garde start to the 1900s, during which many popular contemporary movements like Futurism, Constructionism and Cubism swept through the streets of Kiev, everything came to a very sudden (and very prolonged) halt in 1922 with the foundation of the Soviet Union. However, since the parting of the Iron Curtain in 1991, Ukrainian art has enjoyed a stuttering resurgence – and it’s set for an enormous boost this summer with the opening of Kiev’s first ever Biennale…”

You can read the rest of ‘Kiev Arsenale 2012′ by clicking on the image to the left. Or you can read my latest one about Eastern European cruises. Here’s the intro:

“Medieval hilltop castles, high gold-domed churches and ancient Mediterranean ports… Eastern Europe has a wealth of treasures just waiting to be discovered. As there’s no finer way to acquaint yourself with a city than with a late night excursion on the water, here are five of the East’s favourite evening cruises…”

You can read the whole article by clicking this here link (it’s external, you know).

If you’ve noticed a theme emerging, it’s that I specialise in Central and European destinations for Vertu. Hopefully, the remaining dozen-or-so articles covering this area, plus the few elsewhere, will appear in my travel journalism portfolio shortly.

New Articles for Private Air Magazine

During October, I wrote three articles for the bi-monthly Private Air Magazine – and they have all just been published. Two are foreign investment pieces, and the other is a destination piece. You can read the openings of each below…

Shenzhen: A Better Investment than Hong Kong?
“For more than half a century, Hong Kong has been one of the world’s great economic success stories. Thanks to a mass influx of Chinese immigrants and foreign business people during the mid-20th century, the autonomous city-state boosted its economy to impressive levels, and so established itself as one of the biggest financial and investment centres not only of Asia, but of the world. However, in recent years Hong Kong has had to cope with an ever-growing threat to its established global position – and it’s a threat coming from next door.” // Click to read more

Ukraine Again: Is Real Estate Investment Back?
“On 2nd October 2012, the Ukrainian government passed an amendment to their Land Code that allows non-citizens to become land owners when they buy real estate. It’s an attempt to combat a property market crisis that has enveloped the nation since 2008, and to tempt back the scores of American, British and Middle Eastern investors who helped grow the economy so dramatically at the turn of the century. The question that really needs to be asked is whether Ukrainian property remains an attractive opportunity for foreign investors.” // Click to read more

The Call of the Cayman Islands
“The Cayman Islands may be best known as an offshore tax haven, but any regular visitor will attest that this charming corner of the Caribbean has far more to offer than pinstripe-suited bankers and fat cat financial lawyers. These Caymans are also bewitchingly beautiful holiday havens…” // Read more

You can subscribe to the excellent Private Air Magazine right here, or simply read the latest issue for free here.

Jordan’s Surprise Luxury Tourism Trend

“It was 200 years ago that explorer Johann Burckhardt rediscovered the Nabataen city of Petra. The ancient architectural masterpiece, in which stately façades are carved from pink sandstone cliffs, immediately caught the collective imagination of the Western world and was swiftly transformed into a booming tourist attraction.

However, over the last decade there’s been a concerted effort in Petra – and Jordan at large – to play down this mass tourism appeal and target the niche luxury market. From high-end hotels to haute cuisine, there’s now a trend for quality over quantity…”

This is the beginning of a new web article for Forbes Travel Guide, and you can click here to read it all. With thanks to Mövenpick, Royal Jordanian and Bacall Associates.

Heart of Seoul: Five Grand Palaces in Two Days

“It’s 10am when the drum beat starts. The heavy thud-thud-thud of anticipation. The crowd falls silent – even the breeze drops to a whisper – as the relief guards appear at the gate. Resplendent in uniforms of crimson and cornflower, holding colorful banners aloft and accompanied by a cacophony of bugles and conch shells, they slow-step in synchronicity across the palace courtyard towards the on-duty sentries.

The Changing of the Guard at Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of Seoul’s oldest traditions. This display of military might first took place in 1469 and today guards are changed six times a day, on the hour, in a festival of color where ceremonial costumes, instruments and weapons whirl past in all directions. A rare and welcome celebration of prestigious past in a city – and country – preoccupied with the future…”

This is the introduction of my latest article for Serendib, SriLankan Airways’ inflight mag. You can read the rest here.

The Rise of the No-Choice Restaurant

“As with so many things in the world of haute cuisine, it was the French who started the no-choice dining craze. Known as ‘Prix Fixe’ (fixed price) or ‘Table d’hôte’ (host’s table), the idea was simple: to offer a set menu at a set price, allowing a restaurant to focus its energy on a limited portfolio of finely-honed dishes.

In recent years, this concept has spread across the pond, and today the US boasts some of the world’s finest no-choice diners. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s pick of America’s best, as well as great menu-free eateries from elsewhere…”

This is the opening to a shiny new fine dining article for the folks at Forbes Travel Guide. You can read the full two-pager by clicking on this here link. Nope, left a bit.

Jesus Original Author of ‘Take My Wife’ Joke

Following the discovery of an old scrap of papyrus that refers to Jesus’ marriage to Mary Magdalene, experts have also revealed that it contains the first written example of the ‘Take My Wife’ punchline.

The comedy ‘bit’, in which The Saviour riffs on the subject of parking the donkey, followed by a light-hearted attempt to get shot of His prostitute spouse, is “equal parts hilarious and sacred” according to Professor Peter Lord.

“A morality tale about the treatment of mules, followed by a jibe at a disciple – this is exactly the kind of tomfoolery one expects from the self-proclaimed Son of God.”

This is the start of a new comedy news piece written for the satirical British website NewsThump (related to this little item), and you can clicky here for the whole thing.

Secret London: Attractions Hidden in Plain Sight

“London is one of the world’s most visited cities, and its shop window attractions – the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, the British Museum – welcome millions of visitors each year. However, there is also another, less-seen aspect to the city, where uniquely fascinating features are concealed amid the chaos.

To offer you a fresh perspective on England’s capital, Forbes Travel Guide has chosen ten of the most interesting London attractions hidden in plain sight…”

This is the opening to an article and slideshow on London’s greatest secret sights, recently written for Forbes Travel Guide. From the World’s Smallest Police Station to the Seven Noses of Soho, click here to learn something new about an ancient city.

Travel guide writing for Forbes

During the last couple of months, I have been employed as a Travel Guide Consultant for the renowned Forbes Travel Guide, contributing a variety of content on cities across Europe for their new online platform Startle.com.

To date, I have completed ‘Question and Answer’ projects for ten major cities throughout the continent, namely Edinburgh, Glasgow and London (Great Britain), Frankfurt (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), Salzburg and Vienna (Austria), Stockholm (Sweden), Warsaw (Poland) and Zurich (Switzerland), and with any luck there will be more guides to come soon.

You can keep track of every contribution on my Forbes biography page.